Hi! Do you remember blogs? Well, this used to be one. Now it just serves as an archive for my multiple Twitter accounts.
It’s hard to write about such a genial movie… so I’ll just focus on what the special edition adds. As Jean-Pierre Jeunet announces it in his foreword, in a horrid English (I’m going to suffer the day I want to watch movies with the director’s comments), this is not a director’s cut, because that’s what the theatrical release was, but just the opportunity to show a few scenes that had been edited out.
The alternate beginning credits are… completely Jeunet, both humorous and a bit gritty, kind of a transition linking the movie with The City of Lost Children or Delicatessen. Hence rather inadequate for Alien. Subsequently, they cut a shot of Ripley waking up after the alien’s extraction (which doesn’t bring much, but doesn’t subtract much either… except for the suspense of knowing in what state she’s going to reappear, which doesn’t work anymore with the long, slow waking up in a synthetic chrysalis); all references to Newt (probably because they were too sentimental, showed a Ripley too emotive, or maybe because Newt and Aliens never actually existed — too bad it makes us lose a nice line in the chapel scene); the final ending sequence. Should I tell or not? Well, I might as well, since I’ll have inserted a picture above (by the way, I’m going to have to change the blog’s programming for more flexibility in the picturelog pages). So they land on Earth! But I can see quite a few reasons why this would have been cut: it’s too closed an ending (all Alien movies pretty much ended on a departure, not an arrival, either with cryotubes or with the military leaving Fiorina), it limits options too much for a potential fifth episode, or it’s just ridiculous and silly to have put an Eiffel Tower in there — in fact, the edited-out ending scene is connected to the edited-out opening scene, with that tongue-in-cheek humor that doesn’t really suit the movie’s mood.
Apart from that… I can accept that the whole crew would have learned to swim in a swimming-pool-ship when they were young, but it’s hard to swallow that Ripley, with all her new powers, wouldn’t realize a second that Call is a bot. That doesn’t work. Funny how I can forgive mistakes in a movie that’s otherwise very good.
I’m disappointed by the bonus: I thought Whedon wouldn’t want to speak, or he’d say what he doesn’t like about the movie, but he doesn’t. Not only he’s there, but he doesn’t say anything negative, either because the interview dates back to movie production (that’s probably the case), or that the movie release is too recent and he’s still being diplomatic (improbable). What struck me is that what he says about Ripley coming back to life could be applied word for word to Buffy’s sixth season. Is he recycling his inspiration, or has he decided to put into Buffy everything the big mean French Jeunet removed from his Alien? In the latter case, maybe he shouldn’t have left Marti Noxon in charge of that, because it’s hardly better (you already should know that’s some serious euphemism I wrote here).
It’s amazing that all spaceship shots would still, in 1996, be based on miniatures rather than computer-generated graphics (whereas everyone knows there are finally 3D aliens in that movie). Which makes the flawless result all the more impressive.